February 7, 2007

Shamans

I found the article by Abram to be very interesting. It wasn’t the typical article about nature because it seems that the story he was telling wasn’t from a point a view of someone going out to appreciate nature and describe it. He was there for a completely different purpose, to study the relationship between magic and medicine. It seems different from the previous article that we read because it was a story about someone observing another culture respecting nature, or how they were viewing nature, and learning to respect it as well. The previous article were all very personal based, just them and nature and how they perceived it.
One thing in the article that interested me was how Abram was able to become friends with all of the local sorcerers and be invited into their homes. Why would the local sorcerers take such an interest in someone who could do some “sleight-of-hand? tricks? They recognized his ability to loosely alter someone’s perception. I wouldn’t really associate the two very closely. To me, someone you can do magic tricks with there hands is a type of entertainer, you know that it’s a trick but its still fun to watch because it keeps you guessing about how it was done. Shamans and sorcerers, on the other hand, I associate with more a mystical view. Someone that claims they can cure illnesses, or contact the supernatural isn’t trying to entertain, but trying to accomplish something. I just think it is interesting how much they value and admire someone’s ability to alter perception, no matter how small it is.

Here is an interesting site y the Shamanic Institute of the North West, which offers training and workshops to become a Shaman. http://www.shamanweaver.com/

January 31, 2007

Dillard

I liked Dillard’s real approach to nature in her chapter “Heaven and Earth in Jest?. She doesn’t just talk about how nature is always so peaceful and friendly, she gives a darker view of nature with example violence and death within nature. She finds beauty in this darker view of nature. “Power and beauty, grace tangled in a rapture with violence? is how she described the hundreds of sharks that she saw under the water.
In the first paragraph you can tell that the story isn’t going to be the happiest side of nature. It is just the way she describes her cat, and the fact that it would be covered in blood. Then she goes into talking about her witnessing the death of a frog, giving a very detailed account of how the “Giant water bug? ate it. Even when she describes the sun setting, it’s not about how the sun looks, but about the light being drained from the earth and everything being taken over be blackness. None of her descriptions of her different events really are the types of scenes of nature that you would expect when describing beauty within nature, which is why I think it gives a very real approach to the topic. It seems like throughout the whole article she tries to show that there is a lot of power and violence is all part of nature, and that we should be there to watch and enjoy it.

Towards the end of the chapter Dillard gives a comparison of her and a Indian’s arrow with grooves in it called “lightning marks? Here is a link giving describing different types of arrows that American Indians used, including about “lightning marks?. http://members.aol.com/jroache/fact093.html

January 24, 2007

Blog Entry #1

Thoreau chooses to conduct his experiment in the woods because he wanted to live away from society, where it was only him and nature to see what living was all about, living off the land instead of depending on others to survive. He believes that to live your entire life within man made structures and luxury’s you may miss what life is all about. So he retreats to the woods to get away from it all, and to truly live life.
By moving into the woods and out of the village he had previously lived, it allowed him to slow things down, and get away from all of the haste and hurry of modern life. It allowed enjoy the morning hours, wake when he wanted to and enjoy the quite surroundings of nature. In a village, that wasn’t possible, everyone needed to go someplace, or do something to survive. By slowing down his life, it brought him even closer to nature than simply just living in the woods because he had the time to enjoy his surroundings, to watch and to listen and to really enjoy his life.
I think that there is a certain connection to nature that you can only get by being completely surrounded by nature. I don’t think you need to completely move away from society in the woods to fell it like Thoreau did, but maybe just a weekend camping of even a hike in the woods to just get a feeling that there is more to life than just the man made world we live in, and that we are all part of nature. That is why I think he choose to conduct his experiment in the woods, just so he could feel more attached to nature.